My illness and surgery came at a time when Jan and her family had already decided that I had a problem.
Over the preceding years, my life had been falling apart. My old firm had been lurching from crisis to crisis, driven by economics and bad judgment by several of my old partners and it broke up at the end of 1999. I was one of the partners who had to clean up the wreck, along with trying to start a new business. Jan was spending her time with her mother and her aunt, both in a Network Marketing scheme and in exploring New Age beliefs. She was hurt that I did not agree with her family’s spiritual insights. My daughter was withdrawn, occasionally raging and hurting herself. My son was occupied with computer games and TV cartoons. My friends had moved away or been driven off by my wife’s incessant attempts to sign them up in her Network Marketing or by my distemper. I was worn out, angry, trapped, tired.
On Christmas Eve, we went for dinner at my wife’s brother’s wife’s parents house. I got sick and went home. I heard that Claire had become distressed over a gift given to David. It was a remote control truck, and she became hysterical about the possibility that David would use his gift to harass and annoy everyone else. It was unpleasant for everyone. Jan thought that I was not spending quality time with the kids and blamed me for their failure to be the nice children she thought she ought to have.
She had in fact started to tell her mother and her friends that she was thinking of leaving me, and that story carried its own momentum. Her plans were thrown off when my bowels were obstructed and I was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer, but her story gained its momentum again as she became more involved with New Age therapies that encouraged her to write her grievances and find the happy life that she wanted.